Donald Trump does “The Snake”

Washington Examiner, February 26, 2018

Shortly before President Trump’s appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference last Friday, his administration announced a new set of severe sanctions on North Korea.

When Trump got on the stage at CPAC, he talked about a wide range of issues, including his hair, CPAC’s perception of him as insufficiently conservative during the presidential election of 2016, his administration’s accomplishments (regulatory reform, tax cuts, and confirming Justice Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court), the recent massacre in Parkland, Fla., and the need to defend Americans from violent criminals and reform the immigration system.

But about an hour into the president’s speech, he still had not said anything about the sanctions on North Korea.

Then President Trump did “The Snake.”

Just like at a concert, the rock star was doing this by request. As the president recounted, “When I walked in today….I had five people outside say, ‘Could you do “The Snake”?'”

“The Snake” is a song that Trump used to “do” at his raucous campaign rallies and freewheeling speeches in the presidential race of 2016. Back then, the candidate often reminded his audience to think about “The Snake” in terms of radical Islam or the admittance of refugees from terror-prone countries.

At CPAC, the president told everyone to think of “The Snake” in terms of immigration.

When he “did” it, he essentially read the lyrics, and it is worth reading or watching in full.

On her way to work one morning, down the path along the lake, a tenderhearted woman saw a poor, half-hearted, frozen snake. His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew. “Poor thing,” she cried, “I’ll take you in, and I’ll take care of you.”

“Take me in, oh, tender woman. Take me in, for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh, tender woman,” sighed the vicious snake.

She wrapped him up all cozy in a comforter of silk, and laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk. She hurried home from work that night, and soon as she arrived, she found that pretty snake she’d taken in had been revived.

“Take me in, oh, tender woman. Take me in for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh, tender woman,” sighed the vicious snake.

She clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried. But if I hadn’t brought you in by now, surely you would have died.”

She stroked his pretty skin again, and kissed and held him tight. But instead of saying thank you, that snake gave her a vicious bite.

“Take me in, oh, tender woman. Take me in for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh, tender woman,” sighed the vicious snake.

“I saved you,” cried the woman. “And you’ve bitten me. Heaven’s why? You know your bite is poisonous, and now I’m going to die.”

“Oh, shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin. “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

When Trump was done reading, the CPAC audience went wild with applause.

For anyone wondering, the snake represented the unsavory elements of immigration to America, such as MS-13, a violent international criminal gang started by Central American immigrants in Los Angeles; or the terrorist who arrived in the United States via extended family chain migration but killed eight and injured 11 by ramming a truck down a bike path in New York City last November.

The tender woman, of course, was a stand-in for liberals, Democrats, establishment Republicans, and others who do not take border security seriously, laud illegal immigrants as if they are saints, refuse to acknowledge the benefits of merit-based legal immigration, and ascribe racism to those who support serious reforms to America’s immigration system.

Trump’s reading of “The Snake” was politically incorrect, over the top, and incendiary. It was also hilarious, absurd, highly entertaining, and highlighted the dysfunction of America’s immigration debate with greater directness and effectiveness than any think tank policy paper could.

After doing “The Snake,” Trump seemed to have remembered that there was something else he needed to tell the audience: “I do want to say, because people have asked — North Korea — we imposed today the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before.”

With that, the president was more or less done unveiling his administration’s new set of massive sanctions against North Korea. He thanked his audience, promised to make America great again, and was off.

If you were looking for more details on the new sanctions, you did not get them, but you got a lot more—bombast, high comedy, and great theater.

The next day, Fox News anchor and comedian Greg Gutfeld exclaimedwhile discussing Trump’s performance at CPAC, “It’s amazing—that’s our president?! How did this happen?!” Was he making fun of Trump or admiring him? Maybe both.

Gutfeld concluded that Trump was having a ball, and maybe everyone else should too.

That is probably the most useful advice for an era in which the president of the United States does “The Snake.”

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